March 2, 2015
China's grain imports rise 16.5% in 2014
China's grain imports in 2014, consisting mostly of soybeans, rose 16.5% to 87.8 million tonnes compared to the previous year, despite increased domestic output.
Soybean imports accounted for about 80% of the total grain imports and registered 12.7% year-on-year increase to 71.4 million tonnes, according to data from the General Administration of Customs of China.
This import rise was attributed mostly to the greater global availability and lower prices of soybeans last year due to abundant supply and to China's increased demand for soy because of its rising consumption of soybean meal used to feed livestock. The average Chinese is continuously increasing his average consumption of meat and poultry as a consequence of increasing purchasing power.
Despite the increase in the overall output of grains in China, soybean output declined last year because of reduced subsidies and decreased area for planting.
Imports of wheat and coarse grains such as barley and sorghum also rose dramatically by 36% to 16.5 million tonnes in 2014 from the year before. But maize imports fell 23% to 2.4 million tonnes as China rejected certain strains of genetically modified maize shipped from the US.
The relatively high domestic maize prices also led some animal raisers to switch to barley and sorghum for livestock feed.